Cory Bernardi renews calls for burka ban after Sydney, Brisbane anti-terror raids

Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has renewed his call for a ban on the Muslim burka following this morning's anti-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane.

He described the head covering as a "shroud of oppression" and a "flag of fundamentalism", adding they are "not right" in Australia.

In a tweet sent this morning after 800 police officers mounted Australia's largest anti-terrorist operation in raids on properties in Sydney and Brisbane, Senator Bernardi wrote: "Note burqa wearers in some of the houses raided this morning?"

He later told ABC News that his comments are in line with his previous concerns about the burka, which he has described as "un-Australian" and "repressive".

"I have repeatedly raised the security and identification issues associated with facial coverings," he said.

"This has led to some changes in state laws in Australia."

But Prime Minister Tony Abbott rejected the comments and argued there was no need for people to "fret" about the Muslim head covering.

"This is not about people's religion, it's not about what people wear," he told reporters in the Northern Territory.

"It's about potential terror attacks here in Australia and that's what we've got to guard against."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has described Senator Bernardi as a "rogue" and his comments as "stupid".

"Why on Earth is this out-of-touch, out-of-line senator on a rampage with his ignorant and stupid comments?" Mr Shorten said.

"This senator's comments should have no part to play in public life, fuelling fear and suspicion as opposed to tolerance and understanding."

The Government has been at pains to draw a clear distinction between the threat of terrorism and the Muslim community.

When Mr Abbott announced an increase in Australia's terrorism alert level from medium to high last week, he rejected suggestions the move was linked to any particular group.

"I just want to completely dispel any idea that this is about religion. It's not," Mr Abbott told reporters.

"I want to completely dispel any idea that this is about particular communities. It's not."

Attorney-General George Brandis, who has been meeting with Muslim leaders in recent months, backed the Prime Minister's view.

"All of us as Australians are potentially victims of these wicked people, but the Muslim community in particular is exposed," Senator Brandis said.

"Therefore, the steps that we are taking and the legislation we are preparing in consultation with that community in particular, is designed to protect them, to protect them and their interests and their communities."

The Government refuses to refer to the Islamic State terrorist group by its preferred name, saying it has nothing to do with Islam and is not a state.

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